Conversations with Extraordinary Everyday People, excerpt from the book
“Tuesday Morning Love: 52 Commentaries and Weekly Affirmations to Honor the Soul Within the Souldier”
November – Week 46: A Lesson in Living
Rochelle Soetan: Describe Robert Brown.
Robert Brown: Positive.
RS: How did your previous surgery come about?
RB: I had stomach pains one evening so I went straight to the emergency room. They were not sure what it was so they gave me pills to take home. After taking the pills the pain returned so I went back to the hospital. They couldn’t figure out what it was.
They said, “Sir, we don’t know what it is. We’ve tried everything. We’re going to have to operate. We’re going to have to go into your stomach and find out what it is.”
They didn’t give me much chance to decide whether or not I wanted the operation. When I awoke the next morning, they told me that they had discovered six tumors in my intestines and had I not come to the hospital like I did – the situation would have been inoperable. The tumors were so small which is why they didn’t see them the first time. Behind the surgery I didn’t eat for four days and there was a waiting period to determine whether I was positive for cancer. After they checked things out they said, “Great news. No cancer, full recovery!” I was in the hospital for six days after that which forced me to develop a stronger belief in God.
RS: How did you view life prior to that experience?
RB: I wasn’t as committed. It made me more committed to praying. God brought me through it. Had I not gone back to the hospital the second time, I may not be here now and that’s what the doctors were telling me. The tumors would have grown. To have six tumors in your stomach, walking around and not knowing it is inconceivable.
RS: Would you view yourself as someone who has always been accountable?
RB: Oh yes, I feel that whenever there is a negative, there is also a positive. Everyone’s got positives in their lives and you have to find out which positives are your own. Every time a negative sets in, go to the positive. That positive will offset the negative. If you don’t have a positive in your life, you might be in trouble. Everybody gets down. I get down but I don’t stay down because I’ll find something positive to get me right back up.
RS: Respectfully so, “positive” was your word from the beginning.
RB: That’s right!
RS: How do you view the world?
RB: Currently because of all the negativity that is going on, I really see the world in turmoil. You see the positive that’s around you and you try to live positive and be positive in a world that is in trouble. Not enough of us believe in God because if we did, we wouldn’t send each other through the changes that we do. What keeps me going is knowing that there is a God and if you pull a gun in front of me right now, it wouldn’t bother me because I know that if I die, it’s because he’s ready for me to die. I don’t talk about God as much as a lot of people do. I don’t go to church on Sundays but I feel like I’m just as close to God as anybody.
RS: What do you believe your purpose is here on Earth?
RB: I believe that I’ve been placed here to make a difference. Sometimes I don’t wish to get involved in a lot spiritual things, but God put something in everybody. Everybody has something positive that they can go for. A lot of us don’t know what that is. I may not know what my purpose is but there’s something that I’m here for – I just have to discover it. I have to keep searching until I find out what it is.
RS: How does your positivity change others behaviors around you?
RB: I really don’t know the answer to that, but from my understanding, people like being around me because they know I’m positive. They believe that I am a good person and I think if you be around me, it’ll rub off.
RS: How has your energy affected your profession as a music promoter?
RB: Being an R&B promoter – the only energy you need is your mind. Composing shows does not take much physical energy and if it does, I’m up for the challenge.
RS: What drew you to the music industry?
RB: I was attending Howard University in 1967 as a student. I had the opportunity to meet Disc Jockey’s in the area and they would allow me back stage at the Howard Theatre. I got the chance to meet Diana Ross and the Supremes, James Brown, all of the legendary artists. It inspired me to want to get into the business.
I met a gentleman by the name of Herb Feemster. He was a clerk at Waxi Maxi’s. He eventually became a member of Peaches & Herb. I would listen to him talk about how he wanted to record. I thought that perhaps eventually I may want to become a promoter to many of those artists. I told him that the next time we met I’d hope to be promoting him in concert. In 1980, it happened.
RS: Who was the very first artist that you promoted?
RB: Skip Mahoney and the Casuals. They were a local group and I got the chance to manage the group from 1974 to 1980. In 1980, I promoted my first major R&B concert for James Brown and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Incidentally, Al Sharpton was James Brown’s Manager at the time and we took a photo together on stage. I was honored to present James Brown with a Humanitarian Award. It became the weeks’ best photo in Jet Magazine. From that point on I began to get a lot of publicity as concert promoter.
RS: How long have you been a concert promoter?
RB: My first concert was in 1975, but my first major concert was in 1980 with James
Brown. In 1980, I started Robert Brown Productions.
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Robert Brown is an R&B concert promoter, actor, and model manager who has worked in the music and fashion industry for more than four decades. His all-encompassing and long-standing career in entertainment, speaks volumes to his ability to conquer an industry that is demanding, yet fulfilling. Brown has landed extra roles in major films like Contact, Random Hearts, Hannibal, and Head of State. He has appeared in several Black Independent Films and on prime-time shows as Homicide, The Corner, The Wire, The West Wing, House of Cards, America’s Most Wanted, and Veep. As well, he has done commercials for NFL Monday Night Football, Wellspan Health, ASE Automotive and Gateway. Robert Brown stands out as a devoted driver of distinction and has secured a steady advancement in the entertainment industry. He is known as one of the most versatile and celebrated producers in the Washington, D.C. Area. www.robertbrownproductions.com
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